SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) Explained

SERP, or search engine results pages, is a term to describe the page you see after entering a query into a search engine, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. The search result presents a list of web pages that are considered to be the most relevant pages for the user's query. 

In this article, I will discuss how search results are formed and whether website owners can influence them.

В цьому матеріалі розгляну, як формується пошукова видача та чи власники сайтів можуть на неї вплинути.

What is a search engine results page?

Search engine results pages (SERPs) are the pages that are displayed after a user enters a search query. There are several types of SERPs.

Ads in search results

These appear at the top or bottom of the page and are labeled “Ad” or “Sponsored”.

Рекламні оголошення у пошуковій видачі

Organic search results

Organic results are a list of web pages that the search engine considers most relevant to the query.

Органічна пошукова видача

In addition to the listed webpages, Google's SERP has some additional blocks. They are part of the organic search results, but they look different from the regular feed and therefore attract more attention from users. These blocks include:

  1. Places, which appears when a user searches for local products or services. The block includes a map with business labels and information about the closest businesses.

Місцеві результати (Places)

  1. People also ask. These are questions frequently asked by other users, presented in the form of a list. You can expand the list to read the answers.

Рекомендації (People also ask)

  1. Featured snippets provide a short answer to a user's question or the most relevant information on a topic. They appear above the organic results.

Виділені фрагменти (Featured Snippets)

  1. Knowledge Panels contain basic information about a company, person, or product that users may find useful. For example, a brief description, a site link, or other basic information.

Панель знань (Knowledge Card)

  1. Images. If the user's query is visual, e.g., “pictures of cats,” blocks of relevant images may appear in the search results.

Зображення (Images)

  1. Videos. This block displays videos related to the user’s search query. It includes videos from various platforms, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, and other video hosting sites.

Відео (Video)

  1. News Box. It displays news related to a specific user request.

Блок новин (News Box)

A separate block can also display posts from X (Twitter) or Reddit that match the query. The SERP may also show a selection of products from various online stores or a carousel of movies in the selected genre or starring the actor whose name was in the query.

How the SERP is generated

A search engine generates a search result page based on algorithms that evaluate various factors. These are the main steps in SERP generation:

  1. Receiving a query. When a user enters a search query, the system begins to search for relevant results.
  2. Indexing. The search engine selects the most relevant results from its database (index).
  3. Ranking. The system determines the order in which results are displayed.
  4. Formatting. Results are organized in a specific format, which may include organic results, ad units, special widgets, images, and videos.
  5. Display. The system displays the generated SERP to the user.

This process is dynamic, so the same query on the same system may generate different search results pages at different times.

Factors that affect search results

For a web page to appear in search results, it must first be indexed. The ranking phase then determines where the site will appear, and the ranking factors differ depending on whether the site is included in paid or organic search results.

Paid search results

Paid search results are ads that are customized and paid for by an advertiser. A paid ad unit in the SERP is influenced by several factors:

  1. Keyword relevance. Advertisers specify keywords and phrases for which they want their ads to appear. These words must match or be related to the user's search query.
  2. Advertising budget. Advertisers set the budget for the ad campaign and the price per click (bid) for their ad. The higher the budget or bid, the more likely the ad will win the auction among all advertisers for that query and appear higher in the search results.
  3. Ad content quality. Google also evaluates the quality of the ad’s content, including the relevance of the ad and the landing page it leads to, clarity, call-to-action, and more. Higher quality ads are more likely to appear in the paid unit.

Read our articles to find out more about how paid advertising works:

Organic search results

For a website to appear in organic search results, the search engine has to consider the website content to be relevant to the user query. Rankings are based on a number of factors, including:

  1. Content relevance. Search algorithms evaluate the relevance of page content to the user's query.
  2. Content quality. The quality of the text, the use of keywords, and the uniqueness and usefulness of the information to the user are evaluated.
  3. Website authority. Search engines take into account the authority of the site, its history, and its relevance to a specific query.
  4. Site structure and technical indicators. This includes page load speed, mobile friendliness, URL structure, and other technical aspects.
  5. Internal and external links. Page rankings are improved by adding links from other authoritative sites and by enhancing the internal structure.
  6. Location and personalization. Search engines take into account a user's geolocation, search history, and other personalized factors.

SEO specialists work to optimize pages and websites so that they rank higher in search results.


  1. The SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is the page of search results that you see after entering a query into a search engine.
  2. Organic search results are links to web pages that appear in the SERP without payment.
  3. Paid search results are ads. Advertisers pay search engines for impressions or clicks on these ads.
  4. In addition to organic and paid results, SERPs can contain other blocks: widgets with maps, images, knowledge cards, etc.
  5. SERP rankings are determined by several factors, including content relevance, site authority, and technical optimization.
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